Let me tell you a story, dear reader. It is about a land — a quasi-dictatorial kingdom no less — where locals huddle round trashcan fires on the streets of the great metropolis, gnawing on legs of mutton and cavorting in swamps. Once there was good government, but a plebiscite some years ago brought with it autocracy, plague and a nation “falling apart at the seams.”
Which land could this be? Why it can only Cockburn’s ancestral homeland, the dear old United Kingdom, as seen through the eyes of the average New York Times subscriber. For years now Cockburn has been chronicling the Brit-bashing excesses of America’s least reliable news source. Whether it’s peddling dubious clickbait about the vaccine regime or comparing everything to Brexit, there are few articles that the NYT won’t run to please its audience of superior left-leaning Americans and self-flagellating Brits.
And now the NYT has done it again, running two extremely questionable articles in the space of two weeks. The first concerned a young man called Ademola Adedeji. According to the Times, Adedeji was “swept up” in a “murder-conspiracy case with no murder.” The young black man, the paper gasped, “never attacked anyone or owned a weapon.” British policing, the NYT implied, was to blame, given how its “war on gangs disproportionately targets young Black men.” Unfortunately, conspiracy to murder is still bad — even if the person involved doesn’t manage to commit a murder. That’s probably why it is a crime on both sides of the Atlantic.
Just as night follows day, so too did a second article follow that first. Another article questioning the motives of the entire British legal system appeared last Sunday, this time about the Modern Slavery Act. Enacted in 2015, it was designed to prevent human trafficking. “But” intoned the NYT gravely, the Act is now “being wielded against low-level drug dealers more than cross-border human traffickers, and disproportionately affecting Black men under twenty-one.”
Who, pray, were the young gentlemen being unjustly imprisoned for such crimes? The case study that the Times chose to offer up as proof of its theory was a chap called Glodi Wabelua. The term “low-level drug dealer” suggests a certain teenage amateur type, selling a few grams of weed on a Saturday night out. Wabelua, whatever else, doesn’t exactly sound like that. The NYT notes with shock, how, in the government’s eyes “Mr. Wabelua was not just a drug dealer. He was a slave master.”
Yet the reports of Wabelua’s original conviction in 2019 suggests that term is very much appropriate. The Guardian no less reported that Wabelua “ran a lucrative drugs supply into Portsmouth from London using teenagers as young as fourteen as their mules… the victims, all from south London, were recruited and groomed before being sent to Portsmouth… Wabelua [and his associates]… had total control over their teenage victims’ freedom of movement.”
Sounds an awful lot like a slave master, eh? Drug dealers enlisting children seem to be, er, precisely the sort of people this law was designed to target. For a news organization that fulminates so much about “false information, sketchy digital ads and other deliberate efforts to mislead,” perhaps the New York Times could start tackling this problem by addressing its own issues close at home?
This article was originally published on The Spectator’s UK website.